Dungeon Master Screen (with Storage Space)

About: Mad scientist, graphic designer, mechanical drafter, sci-fi geek.

Its very important for the Dungeon Master (DM) to have a screen to hide their notes, maps and other information, so player can't peak and see where the traps and monsters are.

In my Dungeons & Dragons group, our DM's screen made from a few pieces of particle board hinged together with some leather. I decided to make them a nicer screen and one that is a bit more functional. In between games the DM needs a place to store their books and other stuff, so I decided the screen should also function as a storage device, which will allow the DM to easily transport their stuff from game to game. The screen starts out as a box. When the doors of the box are opened the doors become the sides of the screen. Inside the box are spaces to store the Dungeon Master's Manual and the Monster Manual, as well as a drawer for dice and mini-figures.

To make my DM's screen I used a laser cutter. If you check out my other instructable's you'll see its my favorite tool. However if you don't have access to a laser you can cut the pieces out with a table saw and/or a jig saw.

I've attached 3 files with the parts for the screen. The first is a layered Adobe Illustrator file. This is what I used to cut the pieces out. Each layer has several pieces on it, and was what I could cut at one time. If you use all the layers once you will get all the parts you need. If you can't use that, I have also attached a dxf and svg file that have all the parts laid out on a single layer.

Supplies:

  • 1/8" thick plywood
  • wood glue
  • wood stain (optional)
  • 8 hinges, 3/4" X 5/8"
  • handle for the drawer

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Step 1: Putting the Boxes Together

The first step is to cut the pieces out. Again I used a laser cutter but a table saw and/or jig saw will also work. The big advantage of the laser is it easily allows me to cut box joints or slots and tabs into the edges of the box. This makes putting the pieces together easier.

After cutting the pieces out, I stained the wood to make it darker. You can stain the wood before or after cutting.

Next glue the pieces together to make the outer box and the inside drawer. You can see in the photos how the drawer joints, tab together to make the drawer. The outer box is the same. I used a regular wood glue and some gorilla glue to glue the edges together. The attached pdf has an illustration of how the pieces go together.

For the handle of the drawer I used some black twine, threaded thru 2 holes, to make a loop that can be grabbed to pull open the drawer. Feel free to add a different style of handle for the drawer, just make sure the outer flaps can close over it.

Once the drawer and box are complete its time to attach the doors.

Step 2: Doors and Hinges

Each door has 2 sections. They are attached to each other and to the box by hinges. I used 3/4" X 5/8" brass hinges but you could use other types. I was originally thinking of using leather straps for the hinges. Each door needs 4 hinges for a total of 8 hinges.

The hinges come with screws but they are longer than the wood is thick. To fix this after I screwed them thru the wood I used a Dremel cutter to cut the protruding parts of the screws off. After trimming the screws down, I sanded the area flat to remove any jagged edges that can cut or scratch.

Step 3: Decoration

To enhance the medieval castle look of the box, there is a parapet style trim to go on the sides and front of the box, which matches the parapet design on the doors. Once the box is assembled, glue the trim on, matching it up the to parapet design on the doors.

Step 4: The Clasp

To be honest this part of the build was problematic and went through several attempts before I ended up with the system I have. My original idea was to have the swords rotate to open and close but that didn't work. Then I decided to use brackets that the swords would slide through to bar the doors. As you can see from the pictures above that didn't work to well. The brackets were to loose and the swords pivoted in them as the doors opened up, so they didn't end up stopping the doors until they were almost half way open. As a last attempt to make the bar work I added a decorative skull with a slot in it, that the swords slid into after the bracket and that locked them down better.

Because it was a bit jury-rigged, I have have not included this part in the attached plans. I would recommend you experiment with your own designs for this. A simple hook and eye latch would work better than my design. Ironically, originally I was just planning on using a leather strap or belt to close the doors but decide to get all fancy with the swords and brackets.

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